I first heard Hayley Westenra (b. 1987) back in 2003 when she was all of fifteen years old. I knew then she would be a major talent in the classical crossover realm as her voice is simply mesmerizing. From New Zealand, Westenra crosses many styles, such as classical, folk and pop, and performs songs in a multitude of languages from English, to Latin, Celtic, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, German and French. Westenra’s album Pure, released in 2003, has sold millions of copies and made her an international superstar.
Here is Westenra with a vocals only Amazing Grace, which highlights the beauty of her voice unadorned with instrumentation.
Here she is performing Pie Jesu live when she was 15! You will be amazed.
A bit of pure opera here, with Westenra singing O Mio Babbino Caro.
Lastly, a less famous song, but I have always loved her singing Never Saw Blue.
Her latest album, Paradiso, was released in April of this year (coming in October in the U.S.). At only 23, I am looking forward to many more years of vocals coming from Westenra.